Appearing on MSNBC in April, RNC Chairman Michael Steele unveiled a strange metaphor to highlight his view of Republican Party regional inclusiveness. Steele asked Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan to pretend they were all wearing hats that said “GOP” and for the purposes of the demonstration, they all hailed from different parts of the country. Steele then explained:
STEELE: In the Midwest, you guys like to wear it a little bit to the right. In the South, you guys wear the brim straight ahead. Now the Northeast, I wear my hat backwards, you know, ’cause that’s how we roll in the Northeast.
At the College Republican annual conference this past weekend, Steele again deployed the same exercise to teach students about embracing Republicans, regardless of “how they wear their hat.” Steele asked four College Republicans to stand up and simulate wearing a hat “that very boldly says GOP.” After lecturing on how each imaginary hat would could be worn differently, Steele proclaimed, “The problem we had is that too many of our friends, neighbors, colleagues, family members, are taking the hat off because we have decided we don’t like the way they wear it.” While the bewildered students stood in front of the crowd obediently for nearly ten minutes, Steele eventually concluded:
STEELE: Let me ask you, what do they have in common? They’re all wearing the same hat. […] The difference is, Barack Obama has asked your generation to wear his hat, his hat — the hat of one man. I’m asking you to go out and ask your friends to wear our hat -– the hat of an idea.
ThinkProgress attended the conference and caught the demonstration on video. Watch it:
Unconvinced by Steele’s unified hat theory, several College Republicans expressed their concern that the GOP establishment was moving to shut out fellow Republican Marco Rubio in favor Charlie Crist in the Florida Senate primary. Asked by one attendee about how to deal with RINOs (Republicans in name only), Steele replied, “I don’t know what that is. I’m just being honest with you.”